Tuesday, February 14, 2023


Supporting Central Asians on the Frontlines of Fighting a Dis/Misinformation War

Context: On February 14, 2023, USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman announced fifteen subgrantees under USAID Central Asia Media Program (MediaCAMP)’s media literacy initiative, which supports talented journalists, independent content creators, and influencers to develop materials and media activities to strengthen the understanding and ability of citizens in Central Asia to interpret media information. The 15 awardees are from Kazakhstan (6), Tajikistan (4), and Uzbekistan (5), and will collectively reach several hundred thousand people across the three countries through: radio, TV, theater, podcasts, training, and more. 

DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR ISOBEL COLEMAN: It’s wonderful to be here in Kazakhstan. It is a beautiful day, a beautiful city, Almaty, and I’m thrilled to be here. I’m here traveling with my colleague Michael Schiffer, who is our Assistant Administrator for all of Asia, and my wonderful Special Assistant, Emily Green. 

I understand this is the first time in 22 years that someone from USAID leadership has been to Kazakhstan, and all of Central Asia, so I am packing a lot into this visit. I only wish that I had three more hours here to spend more time with all of you and all of the great work that you’re doing. 

We all know how incredibly important this work is, especially during these times of increasing mis and disinformation. It is terrific to see curriculum being developed for young people, seeing games and online tutorials to help people understand media literacy. I saw posters that have been disseminated online too to make people aware of the dangers of the online world, of spending too much time on social media and not being thoughtful about what they are hearing and seeing. And such creativity among people who are working in this program, like Annas Bagdat’s musical “SEN”, as a way of disseminating online hygiene, of questioning and not just believing everything that you're told. Then our colleagues in other countries, working also in such a creative space with puppet shows and children and all of the things that you’re doing, it is really amazing, I really wish that I had more time with all of you. 

Thank you all so much for the important work you're doing. You really are on the frontlines of a disinformation war and you're really helping people to be more prepared and more empowered to understand what they are seeing in the world, to be more skeptical and to really search for the truth. The world you’re doing is really one of the building blocks. You’re helping to build a capacity among people for democracy in this country. So thank you again for your really really important work. Thank you. 


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